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Man guilty of child abuse for forcing grandsons on grueling Grand Canyon hikes
PHOENIX (AP) ' A U.S. man was found guilty Wednesday of child abuse for forcing his young grandsons on grueling hikes in the Grand Canyon in searing summer heat, even as they threw up and collapsed with cramps.
A jury found 45-year-old Christopher Alan Carlson guilty for the three forced hikes of more than 15 miles (24 kilometers) each last August. His three grandsons were 8, 9 and 12 years old.
Carlson, who had pleaded not guilty, could face life in prison when he is sentenced June 1.
Investigators have said Carlson told them the boys were overweight and that he thought hiking the Grand Canyon would help get them into shape.
The oldest grandson described secretly asking a hiker to call emergency services after he started throwing up and falling down because of cramping.
"I needed medical attention and I was hurting, and he was hitting and pushing me and calling me fat," said the boy. "I was scared and it was hard and I was all weak and tired and kind of hurt."
All three boys said Carlson pushed, choked and kicked them during the hikes.
Prosecutors told jurors that Carlson deprived the boys of food and water during the hikes. The boys said they did get some water, but not always enough, and ate celery and other snacks.
Carlson is such a young grandfather because he had they boys' mother when he was 15 and she had her first son when she was 17.